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How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen

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How to Get Rid of Ants in the Kitchen
4 min. read
ants in the kitchen

Image: RHJPhtotoandilustration / Shutterstock.com

If you’re having problems with an ant infestation in your kitchen, it’s important to deal with it as soon as possible. Ants can multiply extremely quickly and cause damage to your home in the process. Fortunately, they’re fairly easy to remove and seldom require you to hire pest control. Here’s how it’s done.

Find Where the Ants Are Coming From

The first step to getting rid of ants is finding their colony. Are the ants coming from outside, or worse, do they have a nest in your home? Take the time to observe them as they explore your kitchen, and follow them to the source.

If the ant nest is inside the house, it’s most likely located in wood damaged by dampness. Check the areas above and under the sink, look inside cabinets, behind appliances, and inspect the floor and skirting boards as well. Often, the nest will be surrounded by a small mound of fine wood shavings, which the ants have excavated while digging their galleries.

Eliminate the Ant Colony

Once you locate the ants’ nest, you can destroy the colony with a non-repellent insecticide. Using repellents at this point won’t do much good, as the ants will simply relocate someplace else. As an alternative to insecticide, you can sprinkle some boric acid powder over the nest.

If you haven’t found the nest, the best solution is to set up an ant bait. This method is helpful, especially if the ants are coming from outside, and you don’t see yourself spending days following them with a magnifying glass to find their nest. You can either use a store-bought, pre-made ant trap or make your own. The easiest homemade ant trap is a solution of water, sugar and borax. The ants will take the sugary bait to the colony, and once they eat it, the borax will wipe them out within a day or two.

Keep the Ants out for Good

Now that your kitchen is free of ants, you’ll want to keep it that way. So here are a few ways to make sure that these little pests won’t find their way back inside your home.

Seal the Entry Points

Ants typically come inside the house through small cracks and gaps around windows, pipes and wires. This is easily fixed with a bit of DIY, such as using caulk or gap filler.

Eliminate Moisture Sources

Ants are attracted to moisture, which is why it’s important to keep your kitchen as dry as possible. Avoid leaving dishes and pans to soak for too long, make sure that the garbage bags aren’t leaking, and if you have houseplants, avoid leaving water in the pot trays. You can also find ants coming in through the drains, so wipe the sink dry after use. Finally, remember to check under the sink for any damp spots and leaks and fix them if needed.

Use an Ant Repellent

You can make your kitchen unappealing to ants with the help of organic, homemade ant repellents. Cinnamon, peppermint oil, neem, citrus, eucalyptus oil, pepper and white vinegar are just some of the smells that ants absolutely detest. You can use them to coat entry points such as windows and doors, on baseboards, as well as under the sink and behind appliances. This way, the ants will think twice before visiting your home again.

Store Food Correctly

Apart from moisture, food is the main item that lures ants into your kitchen. These tiny pests love the same foods as you do but have a soft spot for sweets. So always keep your food stored in sealed, airtight containers or ziplock bags, especially if it’s items like sugar, candy, bread, biscuits, chips, cereal, nuts and seeds, and even pet food. If you have cooked food, cover it and put it in the fridge. Also, make sure that the cap on bottles of fizzy drinks, honey and syrup is tightly shut and wiped clean.

Keep Your Kitchen Tidy

Ants use scouts to look for new food sources. If your kitchen is kept spotless, the scouts will return to the colony empty-handed and are unlikely to bug you again. Take the time to sweep and mop the kitchen after each use, give the counters a good wipe, keep the lid on your garbage bin tightly shut, and take the trash out regularly. If you want to be extra vigilant, you can also use a half-and-half mix of water and vinegar to mop the floors. This will erase the pheromone trails used by scout ants and bring you one step closer to an ant-free home.

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